Karen Tandy (Susan Strasberg) visits her doctor, Dr, McEvoy (Paul Mantee) complaining about a lump on the back of her neck.  Dr. McEvoy has no idea what is causing the lump, so he brings in a specialist, Dr. Jack Hughes (Jon Cedar) for a consultation.  The lump is growing at a rapid pace.  Karen is subject to a battery of tests but neither doctor can figure out what is causing it.  Dr. Hughes notices that x-rays of the lump look similar to a fetus.  He decides that he will have to operate and cut the lump out.

Karen is nervous about the operation, so she goes to see her former lover, Harry Erskine (Tony Curtis).  Harry is a fake psychic and does tarot card readings to old ladies.  Karen tells Harry that she is nervous about the operation.  The two reconnect and rekindle their romance. 

During the operation the fetus takes over Dr. Hughes and forces him to slice open his own hand with a scalpel.  At the same time, one of Harry’s clients, Mrs. Herz (Lurene Tuttle) begins speaking in tongues and throws herself down the apartment building stairs.  When Harry finds out that things went wrong with the operation, he calls on a friend who is a real psychic, Amelia Crusoe (Stella Stevens).  Amelia performs a séance that goes badly. 

Amelia’s husband, MacArthur (Hugh Corcoran), reads a passage in a book about the spirits, or Manitou, of ancient medicine men living again by attaching themselves to another person, in the form of a fetus, and being reborn.  Each time a Manitou is reborn, it is stronger than the previous manifestation.  Harry, Amelia and MacArthur visit the author of the book, Dr. Snow (Burgess Meredith).  He tells them that they need to have another medicine man combat the ancient spirit in order to excise it from Karen. 

After contacting several medicine men, Harry finally finds John Singing Rock (Michael Ansara) and gets him to agree to try to send the Manitou back to the realm it came from.  If he fails, Karen will die, and an evil force will be released upon the world.

“The Manitou” was released in 1978 and was directed by William Girdler”.  It is an American science fiction horror film.  It was based on the 1976 novel written by Graham Masterton.

The movie is not Oscar material, but it does have a 70’s over-the-top silliness that makes it entertaining enough to go along with the slightly ridiculous plot that lets you ignore the plot holes.  The acting was decent, and the special effects were good for a seventy's horror film.  Outrageous, sure, but that’s what makes it a good watch. 

“The Manitou” is a fetal body horror film.  There were a bunch of movies made during this period that were similarly bizarre.  For example, “The Brood” 1979 was another fetal body horror film.  “Inseminoid” 1981 is another one as well as “It’s Alive” 1974.  Fetal body horror is a sub-sub-genre of horror.  They are pregnancy-based horror movies, even if the fetus is growing from a man, a waist or a neck.  The fetus is a parasite and not a product of love.       

The Manitou was named Misquamacus and was played by both Felix Silla and Joe Gleb.    

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